Capitol Hill sources tell NBC News there had been active discussion between senior Democratic leadership and Arlen Specter for about three weeks.
NO DEM OPPONENT PROMISED: Specter was promised that the Democratic Party would fully support his candidacy as a Democrat and would not back any other Democrat seeking the seat. "In money and message," the party will be behind Specter. Any other Democrat who intends to run will "not have the blessing of the party."
NO CHAIRMANSHIP ON THE TABLE: Sources say Specter will not be given a chairmanship during this Congress, the 111th. For now, "chairmanships were not on the table" as a part of the party switch negotiations.
So, here is how I understand things:
We get no new votes on legislation from Specter
Democrats are given no opportunity to challenge Specter in either the primary or general election, thereby locking all of his bad votes into place even though he is in a blue state.
So, we not only get no new votes, but we lose the ability to challenge those votes. Apart from the image of total Republican fail, this isn't a good thing at all. Not only do we have to deal with Specter's voting record, which is worse than any other Democrat in the entire Senate, but we are denied the opportunity to even challenge him.
I like sticking it to Republicans. But I am also pretty pissed right now. We need to run a primary challenge against Specter anyway, leadership be damned.